The nightmare scenario of a "dirty bomb" in the hands of jihadists of the Islamic State (EI) will weigh on the work of an international summit on nuclear safety held this weekend in Washington by President Barack Obama.
The tenant of the White House, who will leave office in January, had himself launched in April 2010 that appointment of fifty countries gathered in the US capital.
In a famous speech given remained in Prague in April 2009 on "a world without nuclear weapons," Obama warned that the risk of a "nuclear attack" represented "the most immediate threat and extreme global security" .
The context is even more dramatic for the fourth edition of the summit held Thursday and Friday, ten days after the Brussels attacks claimed by the group EI (32 dead, 340 wounded) and in the wake of information about a hypothetical attack "nuclear terrorism."
Thus, Belgian and international media reported on Friday that Brussels Islamist cell attacks of March 22, had planned to make a "dirty bomb" radioactive, following a surveillance video of a "nuclear expert" Belgian establishment by two suicide bombers, the Bakraoui brothers.
And two days after the carnage in the European capital, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano warned in an interview with AFP: "Terrorism is spreading and the possibility that nuclear material is employees can not be excluded. "
The coordinator of the European Union for the fight against terrorism Gilles de Kerchove also warned Saturday in the newspaper La Libre Belgique that any cyber attack, an Internet takeover "of a management center of a nuclear plant" by jihadist movements could occur "within five years".
Reflecting the concern of Washington, the White House proposed to Belgium "assistance" of the United States' to protect nuclear facilities "of the country, which has also deployed military around its plants.
Although the summit on nuclear safety is not exclusively devoted to the terrorist threat, the countries of the anti-jihadist international military coalition will meet on the sidelines of the plenary conference.
For, as told Tuesday Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook, the US's "worried that weapons of mass destruction could fall into the hands of terrorists." And White House deputy counsel to the National Security Benjamin Rhodes acknowledged that "terrorist organizations aspired for years to acquire nuclear material."
If very few experts believe the group EI could one day develop an atomic weapon, many fear that it seizes uranium or plutonium to try to assemble a "dirty bomb." Such a device would not cause a nuclear explosion but the distribution of radioactivity would have terrible health, psychological and economic consequences.
According to IAEA data, some 2,800 incidents of trafficking, illegal possessions or loss of nuclear materials have been reported worldwide in the last 20 years.
According to US experts in non-proliferation, the global stock of highly enriched uranium was at the end of 2014-1370 tons. The key to Russia.
President Obama should welcome fifty foreign dignitaries, including his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, South Korean Park Geun-Hye and Turkish Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
But the head of the Russian state Vladimir Putin, whose country remains a major nuclear military power, and the leaders of Iran and North Korea, the controversial nuclear programs, will be absent.
"The world leaders face a very clear choice: will they commit to improving nuclear safety or relax their efforts?" Questioned this week the Belfer Center study center. Because "their response will determine the level of risk that terrorist groups such as EI their hands on nuclear materials to make a rudimentary bomb."
In the eyes of James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a part of the solution lies in an "essential international cooperation to share best practices defense."